Jerusalem Biennale Festival Aims To Showcase World of Jewish Arts

Six-Week Show Looks To Go Beyond the Kitsch

Start the Show: Dancers perform at the opening of the Jerusalem Biennale.
jta
Start the Show: Dancers perform at the opening of the Jerusalem Biennale.

By Ben Sales

Published September 19, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 2)

The biennale’s best claim to prestige in the contemporary art world comes from Tobi Kahn, a well-regarded New York-based artist who has been featured in a range of museums over a three-decade career. For the festival, he contributed “Urah VI,” a Rothko-esque painting with solid-color squares meant to evoke the gemstone breastplate of the ancient Israelite high priest.

Another exhibit features Kahn’s “Saphyr,” a wooden table with a compartmentalized tray holding 49 small sculptures — an innovative way to count the Omer, the 49-day period between Passover and Shavuot.

“The most interesting thing for me in Judaism is time,” Kahn said. “I’m intrigued by what time means, the whole Jewish law of when Shabbat starts. I’m thrilled to be part of an exhibit that’s opening its doors to many types of Jewish understanding.”

While the exhibits feature a range of media and deal with a wide spectrum of Jewish topics, Ronit Steinberg, a professor of modern Jewish art at Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem, said the festival risks drawing an exclusively Jewish audience.

“It needs to be marketed so that it isn’t provincial and closed,” Steinberg said. “We know that there’s a danger when you define an exhibit under a certain religion. We need to persuade people to come see this just as art.”

While he understands that the festival will not soon attain the reputation of famous biennales like those in Venice and Berlin, Ozeri hopes over time it will at least become synonymous with the cutting edge of Jewish art.

“Jerusalem is trying to compete with New York and Berlin and Liverpool in Western art, and it can’t really put up a fight,” Ozeri said. “Jerusalem can become an art center if it uses its comparative advantage.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Happy birthday Barbra Streisand! Our favorite Funny Girl turns 72 today.
  • Clueless parenting advice from the star of "Clueless."
  • Why won't the city give an answer?
  • BREAKING NEWS: Israel has officially suspended peace talks with the Palestinians.
  • Can you guess what the most boring job in the army is?
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.